The Points Between Review Question

OK, this is awkward and at least 40% of me is saying "leave well enough alone!" but the other 80% of me really needs to know. (The 20% of me that is over 100% in the example above is sighing and wishing I'd paid more attention to mathematics in college.)

So The Points Between finally got listed on WFG, and obviously Chris' review is not the one I would have preferred to get. But it was neither malicious nor nasty, so as far as I'm concerned, fair's fair. When you throw your work out there for all to see, you accept the risks that go with that. A lack of enthusiasm is one of those risks.

(So of course the next step was to obsessively read and re-read the review while drinking coffee and thinking black thoughts about life and the futility of putting words to page. That's what I did Sunday. Well, that and I played Skyrim. Check! Moving on.)

The step after that is to take a fresh look at it and see if I can see what the reviewer sees. Not necessarily to agree, but to at least comprehend. So that's where I am now, and I need a definition from the crowd at large.

The review describes much of what's posted so far as a "self-conscious narrative," which means something pretty specific to me -- I've always understood it to be as a kind of meta-story where the narrator is aware that he or she is telling a story and makes the reader aware that it's a story, and then spends time talking about the story *as* a story. That was a very surprising comment since it's not even close to anything I was going for (though some literary critics will claim that's pretty common for authors, as illustrated in Deconstructing Chapter Five). So I spent a few hours trying to see it, then I got tired, and then I figured I could post here in the hopes either Chris or someone else could explain.

The other alternative is that "self conscious" is used in the way that you could describe a person as feeling very self-conscious, i.e., awkward and halting and bashful, though that doesn't quite fit with some of the other comments (there's no complaint that reads "author is obviously intimidated by the act of putting words to paper.")

Anyway, was hoping for some clarification. I promise not to argue though I may ask more specific questions to try and understand.

Well, I won't comment on the general meaning, but I meant it in terms of the writing. I perhaps chose the wrong phrase, but, in my defense, I did spend about 90 minutes with the story and the review, and was having trouble figuring out how to say what I was getting at. I mean, I know you can write, so I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself I wasn't being fair.

My writing teacher used to tell me "event reveals character". The event in that first chapter is he has trouble crossing a ditch. It could reveal that he's tired, it could reveal that he's prone to panic, it could reveal that he loves or hates the dark, it could reveal that he didn't think to put enough gas in car . . . it could reveal all sorts of things about the character. But to me, all it reveals is that it was very dark where he was and he couldn't see where he was going. That doesn't tell me anything about him. And you spent an *awful* lot of words not telling me about it. That, I think, is what I was trying to get at with the review.

Fair enough! Thanks for clarifying.

Well! I've been reading and enjoying The Points Between, actually one of the few serials I'm keeping up with at the moment. I was a little surprised by Chris's conclusion in the review, but I do see what he means about the narrative. The strange thing is though, that was working for me in a way it obviously doesn't work for Chris.

So I owe ubersoft my own thoughtful review, which I will write after going back and rereading the first chapter and thinking about what Chris said. However, some RL stuff going on right now might prevent me from getting to it for a week or so.

For now I will just say: Maybe the first chapter was a bit of a leap of faith, that this blundering around in the dark, atmospheric as it was, was going to lead to something interesting. For me it did; maybe partly I went on based in my faith in ubersoft's ability to tell a story, but there was also a genuine sense of mystery for me, wanting to know why the character was doing this and what he would find on the other side.

Personally, I think my own one major quibble with the story so far is the first question still hasn't been answered (unless I missed something) and it's been a long time to suspend disbelief on that.

It's a lot easier to write a bland "this was pretty good" review - which is what I might have wound up writing otherwise - than a thoughtful critical one when you feel it's really warranted but know it will hit the writer hard. Now when I get around to writing my review I will have to make it more thoughtful as well, and I hope I will be able to capture what's working for me about the story.

Now I need to follow up on that one! What is the first question?

... oh, after re-reading I think you mean "why he stopped."

I wonder if folding CH00 back into CH01 would help, Fiona. It's funny because I wound up merging the ch00 and ch01 podcasts because people were commenting that they didn't understand why Matthew was stopped at the side of the road to begin with--they didn't know there was a podcast before ch01, so they started there. Feedback on the change seemed to be positive.

I broke off CH00 from CH01 because of the perspective change (first person in ch00 and third in ch01) and because ch01 is already freaking long, but labeling it "Prologue" might work against it, and I see that bit as the answer to the first question, assuming I guessed that part right.

(I don't think this structural change would address any of Chris' concerns).

My apologies, I forgot the part about the dead battery. I thought he had just stopped on a whim and then decided to fight his way through a thick stand of brush, which didn't make sense. Sorry, disregard that comment.

I also didn't catch that when I was reading it. But, honestly, the prologue could go away entirely and the piece would probably be better for it.

Hm. There wasn't a dead battery. It actually was a whim; ch0 just describes the whim in question.

Sorry again. I keep making this worse and worse. I had just skimmed back over CH01 and saw "the batteries were dead" but it was referring to a flashlight not the car. Oops.

I also found the CH00 you were referring to (yes, I did read it the first time, but had forgotten it).So I guess I did miss something - the connection between CH00 and CH01 make a long story short...I don't think they should be merged, because like you said..that makes it very long. I would suggest some reference in Matthew's thought processes in CH01, that relates to what's said in CH00. A segue.

Matthew is hard to get a handle on. But maybe you intend it that way.